Child development - patterns of development. To increase my awareness and knowledge of a childs development, I am going to analyse and assess a case study based on a child called Marie.

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Child development

Patterns of development

In this piece of coursework, I am going to study the general development of a child from birth to eight years of age. I aim to be able to discuss and compare their development against the general recognized norms of a child’s development and factors that influence development. The different types of development that I will be examining are the physical growth and physical development, the intellectual development, linguistic development and lastly the emotional and social development of a child. To increase my awareness and knowledge of a child’s development, I am going to analyse and assess a case study based on a child called Marie.

Case study

Marie is a seven year old girl who lives with twin sister and her mother who is her primary care giver. She has two other siblings, a brother and sister who are older than her but she was not brought up with them as they were put into care when they were three and four years old as their mother could not handle them. However Marie sees her siblings regularly.

Marie never had her father as a permanent part in her life as when she was three years old her dad moved away. He lived with her until she was eighteen months old before he split with her mum.

Marie went to playschool at three years of age and she also moved at the age of three. She has moved to many different primary schools and houses. Marie mixed well with all her peers but mainly females at every school. She has good health apart from a small case of Asthma and a slight eye problem. Her asthma is kept under control with asthma pumps and her eye problem is kept under control wearing glasses.

At the age of six Marie moved house again which interfered with her upbringing as she was out of school for a while and when she went back, she had to make new friends, which became harder to do as she became more self-conscious about herself.

Marie’s birth weight was 4 pounds 5.25 ounces, which is below the ‘norm’ for 7-8 pounds. Marie’s height at birth was approximately 40cm, which again is below the average ‘norm’ of 48-50cm, because of this Marie to be put into an incubator and she was brought home after 10 days.

My interpretation of this case study is basically, Marie has had a hectic childhood life because she has moved around a lot. She hasn’t got two parents which isn’t quite the “norm” and she has had to make friends and leave friends throughout her childhood because she had moved a lot. There has also been a lot of drama in her life with her father leaving and also having a brother and sister in care. She has become self-conscious because she knows she hasn’t any roots as such, she doesn’t have any base from which to direct herself. She will be starting to notice things around her now, with children having two parent families and knowing their siblings.

Key stages of development

There are four broad stages of growth development in a child, these are;

  • Infancy (0-1 years)
  • Toddler (1-3 years)
  • Pre-school (3-5 years)
  • School-age (5-8 years)


Infancy is the first stage of childhood. It is generally the period from birth to twelve months, (1year). The first two months of infancy, is called the neonatal period. This represents a time when changes are very rapid, and many critical events can occur. The next stage within infancy is middle infancy. This is a period of rapid growth and weight gain; this is the medical term used for babies who are two months to twelve months. During this period, a baby should be able to meet the milestones that are set, illustrating the development of a baby. Parents need to follow these milestones so that they can follow and assess their child to observe if they are meeting the recommended guidelines or not. For example, in the middle infancy period, a baby should be able to lift its head, roll over, clench their hands etc. if a child is not meeting the milestones, parents can contact professionals to analyse and help the child.


Toddler is a term used for children aged from 1-3 years. This is the stage of life when a child learns to walk and talk. At the age of one a child should be able to walk with help or alone, sit down without help, have one to eight teeth. At the age from two and a half to three years of age, a child should begin to make interest in being toilet trained. A child at this toddler stage should have developed verbal skills and taking an active interest in the world around them. Toddler stage is very important as it the time between infancy and childhood when a child learns and grows in many ways.


Pre-school is for children who are aged three to five years old. Pre-school education aims to encourage children to learn, play and interact with adults and other children. It is important that all children are able to move freely around activities and make choices and this is why pre-school is available to all parents; it is for young children to develop important skills that will be needed when they attend primary school. In general pre-school is to prepare children for primary school. They will know how to socialise with one another and these skills will help and encourage them to make peers when they start primary school.

School age

School age is a term used for children aged five to eight who attend an institution called Primary school.  Primary school is where children will be encouraged to interact and play with peers which will help their social skills. School age is when children receive the first stage of compulsory education. This type of education enables children to develop many advanced skills which will enable children to be prepared and ready for the second stage of education which is secondary school.

There are five key areas of development that helps a child develop. These five areas are usually known as an Acronym called PILES;

  • Physical development
  • Intellectual development
  • Linguistic development
  • Emotional
  • Social development

Physical development

This term physical development is separated into two separate strands. One is for development; this involves gaining fine motor skills and gross motor skills. These two types of developments include the large and small muscles groups. Gross motor skills is the use and development of the large muscles, for example walking, running and climbing. Fine motor skills refers to the small muscles that are used in precise and deliberate movement that enable functions such as writing, grasping small object etc. The second strand of physical development is the Growth. This is about the physical changes in the child, the increase in size, height and weight, these factors are categorised under the physical growth of physical development. This type of development can also be described as aging, the way the body changes as we get older.

Intellectual development

Intellectual development consists of learning to read, write, draw and use memory. Toys and games help develop children’s intellectual ability as they an interactive focus point for the concentration and co-ordination. Children also need interaction with adults and other children in order to stimulate this type of development. This type of development is also known as another term called cognitive thinking.

Linguistic development

This is the acquisition of a baby or child’s first language. In order to develop this key state a child needs regular interaction with adults and other child as they will help them to develop their vocabulary as they will be constantly talking to the child. Some talking toys also help children to develop this key area.  

Emotional development

Emotional development is quite a difficult key area of development to measure, but it provides the foundation for mental health and well-being. This type of development starts when children form an attached relationship with their main care giver. As we become older we gain a range of other relationships such as friendships and family relationships. Children can develop and feel many different emotions such as happiness, anger, sadness and many more. Parents should be concerned and pay a great deal of attention to a child’s emotional development, as this key area is highly important because the emotional development will basically influence the way in which they think, feel and act later on in their lives.

Social development

Social development refers to the process by which a child learns to interact with others around them. This key area most often refers to how a child develops relationships with family and peers.  In order for a child to be advanced this type of development, they need interactions from their main carers and other children. Lots of social interaction can impact positively on a child development.

Physical Growth

This term physical growth refers to the increase in height, weight and other body changes that occur as a child matures, for example, hair growing, bone structure developing and teeth formation. From the first day that a baby is born, health care workers visit your Newborn every couple of weeks to keep track of weight, length and head size. Growth is good sign of general health, and from health professions keeping records of these different areas of growth, they will be able to detect if the baby is healthy or not. Newborns come in a range of different sizes. Most full-term babies that are 37-40 weeks weigh 7-8 pounds which is considered the average weight. The average length/height of a newborn ranges from 19-21 inches which is 48-53 centimetres, these are the general norms of a Newborn.


In this task I am going to analyse Marie’s weight and height through her four stages of development. I will provide the information in tables along with the general norms expected of a child at the certain ages. I am then going to explain each table comparing and remarking if Marie has met the general norm or not.

The first pattern of physical development that I am going to focus on is weight.

As you can observe in the tables, I have filled in the weight of Marie throughout all four tables; I have also filled in the general weight which is the normal weight a child should be.

In the infant table, Marie was under the general weight for an average baby throughout infancy. At the age of 3months she weighed 7 pounds, she was around the weight a Newborn baby should be. As I know from the case study, Marie was born premature and had to be put into an incubator for 10 days. Due to this fact it is possible to say that this may be the main reason why her weight is under the “Norm” for an average baby. The normal weight for a 6 month old baby is 16.53 pounds. When Marie was 6 months she only weight 10 pounds, she wasn’t even reaching the average of a 3 month old child which is 12.56 pounds. This shows that her growth development is slow. Marie was only gaining 1 pound every month and from effectively researching, an average baby should be gaining 2 pounds every month.


This shows that her growing process is slow. After 6 months the growing process of a baby slows down so that they are only gaining 1 pound a month. Marie has the growing process of 6 month old baby. Also the fact that a new-born loses 5-10% of their original weight after birth, this does not help her development of growth.


As Toddler, you can observe in the table that she is still below the average weight in all her months of this key stage in life. At 15 months Marie is 4 pounds under the normal weight. She is still below the average for a baby at their final stage of infancy. Marie is seriously behind her growth development and the main cause of this is probably because she was born premature. From carrying out effective research I have acknowledged that “Premature infants often cannot drink from the breast or a bottle at birth and may be fed with IV fluids or through a tube in the nose or mouth for several weeks. These early feeding challenges can cause long-term feeding difficulties, including food refusal, difficulty transitioning into solid foods, eating only a small number of foods and slow growth”. ()

These are the long term affects that can be developed due to prematurity and this could be the reason why Marie is still underweight throughout all her toddler months.

During pre-school, Marie is nearly the average weight for a pre-school child at three years of age. However as the year goes on the average weight progresses higher and Marie is still under the general weight aged four and five. She is 2 pounds under the average weight when she is aged 4 years, and she is 3.6 pounds underweight at the age of 5. This is quite worrying, as I believe she should be putting on weight at this stage. At this stage it is “a crucial time for learning good dietary habits that can lay the foundations for future good health” – ()

As you can see in the last table for school age, Marie is still seriously underweight. at six years of age the general weight of a child should be 46.2 pounds. Marie is weighing 39 pounds, this is the weight she should be at five years of age, this is illustrating to me that Marie is a year behind the norm for putting on weight. Marie has only gained 3 pounds since the age of five. She is not developing in line with the recommended norms and this is seriously worrying.  

  There are many different factors that could be the cause of why Marie is underweight;

  • Too much fluid and not enough food
  • High energy requirements
  • Persistent feeding problems – fussy eating
  • Learning food aversions
  • Lack of positive food experiences
  • Exaggerated parental health concerns
  • Limited attention span at meal times
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Some of these reasons I have listed could be the reason why Marie is worryingly underweight. It could be possible that Marie has had the lack of positive food experiences, it stands to sense, as Marie has only one primary care giver, her mother may not be able to afford quality nutritional food, therefore this may be the cause of why Marie isn’t putting on too much weight, or it could be genetic factor, however the case, it is quite worrying.


Height is another important factor that is monitored throughout a child’s life, as it too ...

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